Dumping Syndrome Causes
Worried about whether or not you’ll experience problems with dumping syndrome, also known as rapid gastric emptying, following weight loss surgery? Want to prevent uncomfortable post-op symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, and nausea after gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery?
Here’s what you need to know about dumping syndrome causes, and how diet can help you avoid post-surgical problems with digestion.
Dumping Syndrome Defined
Dumping syndrome is a combination of uncomfortable physical symptoms that occur when food moves too quickly through your digestive symptom. Dumping syndrome affects approximately 15 percent of people who have undergone surgery like gastric bypass to remove part, or all of the stomach.
When food gets ‘dumped’ straight from your stomach into your small intestine without being digested, your body reacts by excreting extra gut hormones to try and break down the undigested food. This leads to a sudden flood of fluids into your intestine, and these fluids contain substances that can make you feel bloated, impact your heart rate, and cause dramatic spikes in your blood sugar levels.
There are two distinct types of dumping syndrome – early dumping syndrome that occurs within 10-30 minutes of eating, and late dumping syndrome that happens about 1-3 hours after a meal.
Symptoms of early dumping syndrome can include:
- Sweating and ‘hot flashes’
- Cramping and bloating
- Rapid, racing heartbeat
Late dumping symptoms are associated with sudden drops in blood sugar levels, and can include:
- Lack of focus
- Extreme hunger
- Heart palpitations
Your doctor can provide you with a formal diagnosis of dumping syndrome using a series of tests that may include checks of your blood sugar levels and a gastric emptying test to see how fast food travels through your stomach.
Preventing Dumping Syndrome After Bariatric Surgery
In most cases, dumping syndrome causes can be controlled through changes to your diet following gastric surgery. Your healthcare team may suggest that you:
- Eat smaller quantities of food
- Take the time to carefully chew your food to improve digestion
- Increase your protein intake
- Decrease, or eliminate, consumption of foods that are high in sugar such as candy and some fruits
- Only eat carbohydrates with a protein
- Restrict the amount of fluids you drink right before and during a meal
- Lay down for about 20-30 minutes after a meal to slow the movement of food through your digestive system
- Gradually increase the fiber in your diet to help slow the rapid absorption of sugar and control blood sugar levels
Some bariatric patients need to take prescription drugs that help control dumping syndrome by slowing down the movement of food into the small intestine, and prevent absorption of too much sugar.
To Find Out More About Post-Surgical Dumping Syndrome
For more information on dumping syndrome causes following bariatric surgery such as gastric bypass or gastric sleeve, contact your bariatric care team here at Olde Del Mar Surgical – we’re here to help.